Quantitative distribution of mRNAs encoding the 19 human UDP-glucuronosyltransferase enzymes in 26 adult and 3 fetal tissues

Xenobiotica. 2012 Mar;42(3):266-77. doi: 10.3109/00498254.2011.618954. Epub 2011 Oct 13.


The purpose of this study was to generate, by real-time PCR, a quantitative expression level profile of the 19 human UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs) of subfamilies 1A, 2A and 2B, in 26 adult and 3 fetal tissues, for better understanding of their roles in xenobiotic and endobiotic metabolism. Adult liver contained the highest level of combined UGTs mRNA, and UGT2B4 was the most abundant isoform in this tissue (40% of total). Other well expressed hepatic UGTs, in decreasing order of mRNA level, were 1A9, 2B7, 1A4, 2B10, 1A1, 1A6, 2B11, 2B15, 1A3, 2A3, 2B17 and 2B28. UGT2B4 was by far the most abundant isoform in the fetal liver (90% of total). The combined UGT mRNA expression in both adult and fetal olfactory epithelium was high, about 20% the adult hepatic level. Interestingly, a large developmental change was found in this tissue from high UGT2A1 and UGT2A2 expression in the fetus to UGT1A6 in the adult. The most abundantly expressed UGTs in the small intestine were 2A3, 1A10, 1A1, 1A6 and 2B7, while 1A10 and 2A3 predominated in the colon. The results provide the most comprehensive data to date on the tissue distribution of the human UGTs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fetus / enzymology*
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Specificity / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Young Adult


  • Isoenzymes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Glucuronosyltransferase